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Re: [textualcriticism] Re: NT Stemmatics

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  • Jonathan Borland
    I think I understand the question. How do we know that what exists is an accurate representation of the original? I guess one explanation goes like this. 1.
    Message 1 of 7 , May 25 7:24 AM
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      I think I understand the question. How do we know that what exists is
      an accurate representation of the original? I guess one explanation
      goes like this.

      1. All copies came from somewhere.

      2. When no variants occur, the probability is that all copies have
      transmitted the original reading. If this probability is not granted,
      then NT Stemmatics really is a worthless venture, and so is all NT TC
      for that matter.

      3. When only one variant occurs against all the rest, the probability
      is that it occurred in isolation and relatively late in the MS
      tradition, so late that its descendants (also not extant), if any, were
      unable to multiply the variant reading enough to impact the growing
      numbers of the copies that contained the original reading.

      4. If this kind of transmissional probability is granted, then
      analyzing the evolution of variant units back to the optimal tree trunk
      from which all branches and variant units emerged seems like a
      worthwhile task.

      And hopefully NT Stemmatics will start with all the branches and not
      just a select few that are presupposed to be the best. Otherwise it is
      not a scientific exercise at all.

      Jonathan Borland
      Lakeland, FL


      On May 25, 2004, at 9:19 PM, Wieland Willker wrote:

      > Thought of the day:
      > What if the amount of information is not sufficient enough to create
      > the
      > correct stemma? Of course we can only use what we have, but if we have
      > not enough? If the input data are too fragmentary and incomplete then
      > the resultant stemma probably has not much in common with
      > reality/history.
      > It could be checked using artificial data to show how much you need to
      > get near the truth (how many "missing links" are allowed). The problem
      > with NT TC is that we don't even know how much is lost.
      >
      > Best wishes
      >     Wieland
      >        <><
      > ------------------------------------------------
      > Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      > mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
      > http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
      > Textcritical commentary:
      > http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Lack of data in cladistics usually leads to lack of resolution. The maximal lack of resolution is the bush pattern in which all extant witnesses are
      Message 2 of 7 , May 25 9:51 AM
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        At 03:19 PM 5/25/2004 +0200, Wieland Willker wrote:
        >Thought of the day:
        >What if the amount of information is not sufficient enough to create the
        >correct stemma? Of course we can only use what we have, but if we have
        >not enough? If the input data are too fragmentary and incomplete then
        >the resultant stemma probably has not much in common with
        >reality/history.

        Lack of data in cladistics usually leads to lack of resolution. The
        maximal lack of resolution is the bush pattern in which all extant
        witnesses are believed to be descendent of some common ancestor but
        there is not enough evidence to conclude that any two are more closely
        related to each other. For example, an unrealized bush with four
        witnesses, A, B, C, and D, looks like:

        x
        / | | \
        A B C D

        If a polychotomy in the stemma (i.e., a MS in the stemma with multiple
        descendents) is interpreted as "soft", then the stemma is considered
        correct as long as A, B, C, and D are actual descendents of x no matter
        how they are further related to each other. Thus, lack of data that
        can specify in more detail the relationships among A, B, C, and D
        would lead to a soft polychotomy.

        However, if it can be determined that A and B agree in error more than
        any other pair, the relationships in the stemma become more resolved
        or distinct, such as:


        x
        / | \
        y C D
        / \
        A B

        There are well-accepted statistical techniques, namely the "bootstrap,"
        that are commonly used for judging how much resolution in the stemma
        is actually supported by the data.

        >It could be checked using artificial data to show how much you need to
        >get near the truth (how many "missing links" are allowed). The problem
        >with NT TC is that we don't even know how much is lost.

        People have done this. Check out the last several years worth of issues
        in the journals of _Systematic Biology_, _Cladistics_, etc. There are
        dozens and dozens of article on such statistical techniques.

        Joe Felsenstein recently came out with a very nice textbook called INFERRING
        PHYLOGENIES, which explains a lot of the theory and practice behind cladistics
        (without getting too doctrinaire about it). If your university supports a
        decent biology/systematics/bioinformatics program, your library may already
        have it.

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
      • Wieland Willker
        ... No, not original , but history . How do we know that what exists is a (tolerably) accurate representation of the textual history? I think, simplified, we
        Message 3 of 7 , May 25 9:51 AM
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          > I think I understand the question. How do we know that what exists
          > is an accurate representation of the original?

          No, not "original", but "history". How do we know that what exists is a
          (tolerably) accurate representation of the textual history?
          I think, simplified, we have a better understanding of what the original
          is than what the history of the text is. And the creation of a stemma
          is, IMHO, not so much an attempt to reconstruct the original, but to
          reconstruct the HISTORY of the text and so to get a better justification
          for the text we claim to be "the original".

          Best wishes
          Wieland
          <><
          ------------------------------------------------
          Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
          mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
          Textcritical commentary:
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... No, the question was about the stemma (the pattern of relationships among the MSS), not the text of the archetype. Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson
          Message 4 of 7 , May 25 9:52 AM
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            At 10:24 PM 5/25/2004 +0800, Jonathan Borland wrote:
            >I think I understand the question. How do we know that what exists is
            >an accurate representation of the original? I guess one explanation
            >goes like this.

            No, the question was about the stemma (the pattern of relationships
            among the MSS), not the text of the archetype.

            Stephen Carlson
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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